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Research in technology education shows us that, de facto, there is, an important group of technologies that requires separate analysis, namely, the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). This report on the status of technology in education in Catalonia  aims to reflect this distinction. Therefore,  when we talk about technology, we refer here to  all technologies except ICTs, and we reserve the term ICTs  to designate informatics and audiovisuals.

The present paper presents the status quo of technological education addressed to younger children in Catalonia by analyzing four points of view:


·         Consideration of  technology in nursery and primary school curriculums.

·         Consideration of  technology in initial and permanent teacher training.

·         The situation of  research  in terms of early technological education.

·         Some initiatives for improving  ICTs education.

·         Consideration of metodologies for science and technology education.



1.      Technology in the  nursery and primary school curriculums


Organic Law 1/1990 (LOGSE) and later regulations, especially  those based on Decree 75/1992, which  ordered the curriculum and guidelines of primary and secondary education in Catalonia, established the current educational system in Catalonia.


 The levels that our project  deals with include the following curricular areas:


Nursery level (ages 3 to 6)

·         Discovering  oneself

·         Discovering the social and natural environment

·         Intercommunication and language

·         Religion (optional)


Primary level (ages 6 to 12)

·         Catalan, Spanish (and Aranese in Val d’Aran) languages and literatures

·         Foreign language

·         Knowledge of social and cultural environment

·         Knowledge of the natural environment

·         Music education

·         Visual and plastic arts education

·         Physical Education

·         Mathematics

·         Religion (optional)


According to this scheme,  preschool and primary school curriculums do not include the area of technology.  Technology is only a curricular area in compulsory secondary  education (12-16 years old).


Although  technology is not an educational area, however, the guidelines for  curricular design have some content related to technology in two aspects: a) the consideration of some contents with an approach STS (Science, Technology and Society) and b) the consideration of some procedural content.

The guidelines for  curricular design in Catalonia (1994) distinguish 3 kinds of curricular content: concepts, procedures and attitudes. The main technological content we  find  is in the procedural contents of “Knowledge of the natural environment”. This is so because often  technological and  experimental activities  have the same procedures.

We can point out these aims and contents related to technology  in the “Knowledge of natural environment” area of the curricular design guidelines:


General aims

1.      To have a positive view of scientific and technological contributions to society 


Procedural contents

1.      Experimental work 

1.1.          Use of tools, instruments and devices

1.2.          Assembly and disassembly of devices

1.3.          Use of skills and techniques

1.4.          Direct observation

1.5.          Indirect observation

1.6.          Measure

1.7.          Data gathering

1.8.          Description

1.9.          Classification

1.10.      Identification of variables

1.11.      Inference and prediction

1.12.      Hypothesis formulation

1.13.      Use of databases to organize the data gathered, to facilitate the selection of  information and  its later interpretation. 


2.       Information and communication. 

2.1.          Scientific vocabulary

2.2.          Verbal expression

2.3.          Nonverbal expression

2.4.          Information. 


3.      Conceptualization and application. 

3.1.          Use of the concepts in different situations

3.2.          Generalization of concepts

3.3.          Synthesis of information


Conceptual contents

4.       Relations between human beings, technology and society. 

4.1.          Contributions of  machines to  human activity

4.2.          Energy resources for  industry

4.6.          The information technologies



1.       Respect for  safety, conservation of materials and hygiene regulations.

3.       Interest  in scientific processes.

4.       Accuracy in processing and communicating information by using the appropriate tools.

6.       Respect for science.


Since  Decree 75/1992 there  have been other decrees that have changed some particular aspects of the curriculum, but the status of  technology has not changed very much  at these levels. The last year has seen the culmination of an analysis process of the Catalan  educational  system and we comment on the results for technological education in the next point.


1.1.  2000-2002 National Conference on Education: Debate about the Educational System of Catalonia.

The National Conference on Education  is an initiative of the Generalitat, (the Autonomous Government of Catalonia), designed to undertake an exhaustive diagnosis of the educational system,  once the educational reform derived from the general organic law of the educational system (LOGSE) goes into effect. The Conference activity began in early 2000 and culminated with the public presentation, on 15 June 2002, of the document: Debate on the Catalan Education System: Conclusions and Proposals.

The National Conference on Education therefore constitutes a good sample of the diagnosis to be carried out in regard to  the reality of the educational system when measures  need to be taken to improve  the quality of education.

The conference was organized into 7 sections:


-          Section I: Decentralization and autonomy of the centers

-          Section II: Importance and social function of teachers

-          Section III: Attention to diversity

-          Section IV: Work training and insertion

-          Section V: Evaluation of learning procedures and orientation

-          Section VI: Artistic programs

-          Section VII: Basic Skills


The aim of section VII was to elaborate a distribution proposal of basic skills between primary and secondary education. The basic skills are the conceptual, procedural, and attitudinal basic knowledge modules that children need to know at the end of each level. They were established  for the first time in the year 2000 for these five areas: linguistic, mathematics, technical-scientific, social and jobs.

In the definitions of basic areas of competence in the  Technical-scientific area, we  read that the aim of these competences is:

 “to develop the basis of scientific thinking that the children need in order to understand the world of ordinary objects and phenomena.... and to face the most related common problems”


This area has five dimensions:

§         Knowledge of common objects

§         Technological processes

§         The environment

§         Consumption

§         Health


The three first dimensions must provide the children with  a scientific literacy which,  according to  the PISA report "is the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions in order to understand and help make decisions about the natural world and the changes made to it through human activity."

The other two dimensions, Consumption and Health have an aspect which is more closer to the application of resources that the scientific thinking provides. These last two dimensions aim  respectively to promote a responsible consumption and to educate in health protection.


From the conclusions of the debate, we extract the following three general basic competences in technological processes:


1.       To know why some habitual chemical products may be dangerous in the  home.

2.       To explain  by scientific approaches some of the most important changes that take place in  nature.

3.       To know the basic elements of a machine for collecting energy, transforming it, and producing  useful work.


These general competences have  the following more concrete basic competences at the level of primary education:



•To know about the utility of typical chemical products found in the home and  what possible consumer risks  may derive  from their use (burns, intoxications, etc)

•To identify on the labels the symbols  for dangers involved in  the use of some products. 

•To use the products according to  the established instructions for use.



•To know some simple natural phenomena, relating important causes and effects.

•To explain some of the changes that are easily observable, caused by the living organisms related to the nature and the dynamics of the Earth.


•To identify the energy resources that are most frequently used and to value the importance of not wasting them. 

•To design and to elaborate a simple technological project.



We also think that it is  possible to find contents of technological education in these basic competences of the Knowledge of usual objects dimension:


4.       To know and to evaluate the factors of risk derived from the use of machines and appliances and the reasons for protection.

5.       To compile information and apply basic knowledge of technology to solve simple problems.



These general competences have  the following more concrete basic competences at the level of primary education:



•To know the risks  to users  of different devices, in relation to  their characteristics (conductivity, temperature, etc.). 


•To know what to do in the event of the most common accidents in the home (gas leaks, fires, etc.). 

•To use different appliances, according to the instructions for use 

•To respect the use and conservation instructions of objects and materials.



•To observe and classify objects. 

•To observe and classify simple processes. 

•To know how to detect some failures in the operation of most common devices. 

•To apply simple processes  (e.g., direct observation, comparison, classification, combining two variables…)  in order to answer a question. 

•To know how to find information of a certain source of data.


In our opinion, this document will not involve important changes related to the status of technology in nursery and primary education.  At these educational levels  technology is considered only in relation  to social and natural sciences (STS approach).

You can find more information in and in


1.2.  ICT items in the curriculum


In the curriculum guidelines (1994),  the ICTs  did not appear  as a curricular area, but were considered a “transversal axis” (like health or road security, for example). Today, the ICTs have become essential instruments for education and their knowledge is considered a basic competence or skill, (perhaps comparable with reading, writing and calculating).

The basic skills in ICTs  were defined in 2000 and as a result of the National Conference on Education have recently been  arranged in sequence: These next items are the ones corresponding  to children between the ages of 3 to 12: 


Historical and social consequences


3 to 6 years

Progressively the student must develop the capacities:

1.       To understand the ethical, cultural, and social impacts  related to ICTs.

2.       To value the personal and social benefits of ICTs.

3.       To be aware of the implications of using ICTs in different situations, for example in the classroom and at home.

4.       To appreciate the necessity of responsible uses of ICTs and the necessity of protecting  information  from a possible  misuse, at individual as well as collective levels.


Initial level

6 to 8 years

Middle level

8 to 10 years

Higher level

10 to 12 years



Technological literacy



1.       To use the mouse to point out and click

2.       To  turn the computer on / off

3.       To use the keyboard / sensitive chart

4.       To print  by clicking on the printer icon


Initial level


1.       To use the basic components of the graphic environment of the computer

2.       To open  and  close an application, to create a new document.

3.        To save and  retrieve a document, with the help of the teacher


Middle level


1.       To use menus and advanced controls (such as the contextual menus)

2.       To use the computer with security and responsibility  

3.       To identify the differences among the use of the hard disk and  floppy disk

4.       To save and  retrieve a document, without the help of the teacher

Higher level


1.       To personalize aspects of the system

2.       To identify different types of computers

3.       To understand the need to make backup copies  and be able to make them.

4.       To identify the advantages of working in a local net and of using shared files





Instruments of work intellectual


1.       To  be aware of the possibility of obtaining information through electronic means. To group,  classify,  order, and  serialize different types of objects

2.       To make an image using   simple drawing software

3.       To explain the work  processes with the computer and to indicate the tools used.

Initial level

1.       To access  information  in support of CD-ROMs

2.       To access  web pages previously selected

3.       To group,  classify,  order and  serialize different types of objects

4.       To create,  access and  edit  one or more sentences with a simple word processor

5.       To print documents

6.       To use simple graphic software

Middle level

1.       To access to different CD-ROMs without the teacher’s help.

2.       To use an  Internet navigator without the help of the teacher

3.       To print in a selective way

4.       To use simple databases  on the computer

5.       To make database searches

6.       To create and  edit a document, for example: a report, a press article or a letter, using more complex tools of word processor.

7.       To create a presentation simple multimedia, for example: a presentation or a page web

Higher levels

1.       To look for information in different ways

2.       To use a searcher.

3.       To create a list of Favorites.

4.       To make text captures and graphics with the option Copy and Paste.

5.       To create a simple database

6.       To enter data in defaulted databases

7.       To identify the structure of a database

8.       To create and  edit a document, for example: a postcard, a calendar or a school magazine, using a word processor and graphics

9.       To present/create a session of slides, a presentation or a  more sophisticated web page, with the help of the teacher.



Communication tool


To carry out simple comparisons between the telephone and the mail

Initial level

To establish  simple communication activities between two people, for example: sending a message

Middle level

1.       To negotiate one’s own electronic communications, for example: to negotiate an electronic mail

2.       To be aware of  different styles and communication forms

Higher level

1.       To carry out simple activities in a group, for example: communications or  to  collaborate through electronic mail

2.       To learn how to use the option of attaching files in the electronic mail.

3.       To be able to use the "emoticons" in an appropriate way



Control and modelling


To follow instructions

Initial level

To use simple games of simulation or  adventure

Middle level

1.       To use more complex simulations or adventure games

2.       To control an element that appears  on screen through basic orders, for example: a turtle

Higher level

1.       To plan a sequence of orders to be executed by a device

2.       To be aware that the computer can pick up information on the environment through sensors, for example: temperature, light and sound

3.       To be aware that the computer can be used to simulate or model real situations and to understand  why  computers are used for these tasks, for example: in situations of danger or environmental risk




2.      Technology and ICTs in nursery and primary school  teacher training

The standing of technology in teacher training is not unlike  that of the curriculum: if we  fail to consider ICTs,  our teacher training in technology will be applied only to  secondary teachers  in the area of technology.


2.1.  Technology and ICTs in initial teacher training


The preschool and primary initial teachers training is organized into 5 university degree programs:

§         Mestre d’Educació Infantil, general teacher for children aged 3 to 6.

§         Mestre d’Educació Primaria, general teacher for children between the ages of 6  and 12.

§         Mestre de Llengües Estrangeres, teacher specialized  in English or French language for children between the ages of 6 and 12.

§         Mestre d'Educació Física, teacher specialized in children aged 3 to 6:  physical education.

§         Mestre d'Educació Musical, teacher specialized in children aged 3 to 6:  musical education.

§         Mestre d'Educació Especial, teacher specialized in children  with special needs.


In all these diploma courses, technology education is  also focused on ICTs. These  curriculums have only one compulsory  subject of 4.5 credits: “New technologies applied to education.”  This subject has explicit informatics and audiovisual contents.

Nevertheless we can find some contents of technology in various courses in didactics of experimental sciences and courses in some optional subjects,  e.g., in the  teacher training Faculty of the Universitat de Barcelona (UB), the optional  subjects “Informatics and Technology”, “Resources for teaching science” or “Informatics resources for teaching mathematics” have technological contents.

You can find more information in



2.2.  Technology and ICTs in permanent teacher training


The current offer in nursery and primary in service teacher training related to technology is also focused on ICTs.

The Administration offers:

§         Training courses (first and second level) in ICTs in public centers of preschool primary and secondary education.

The first-level courses are introductory courses for teachers that have little experience with  ICTs. The main aim of the first-level courses is that teachers know the hardware and software in their center and have the basic competences in ICTs for  their habitual use.

The second-level courses offer the teachers more in-depth knowledge and competence in ICTs for  subsequent curricular use.

§         Specific support to teachers at preschool and primary public centers for the integration of informatics into the variety of curricular knowledge areas and the general educational task of the center’s improvement. It’s supposed that the teachers of these courses know the basic aspects of informatics and offimatics.

§         Training courses in audiovisual media in public centers of preschool and primary education. The main aim of these courses is that teachers know the audiovisual media in their center and have the basic competence for their normal  use.




3.      Research in technological education


If we  fail to take the ICTs in educational research into consideration, the outlook on research in technological  education in Catalonia is very poor. We found only one project  at the doctoral degree level  on the differences between girls’ and boys’ interest in and concept of technology in secondary schools (1993).  We present this in detail in the next point because we think it is of interest  to our project.

We also found references to two PhD dissertations done in the nineteen-eighties  at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. These documents are on  pre-technological vocabulary in primary schools ( Contreras, E. 1981) and technological operators used by children in their technological education (Gonzalo, R. 1989).  However, we  do not feel that this is a line of research that is in keeping with today’s continuity. These are probably  only sporadic works, because we have not found more recent works on this line.

Also, at present, a PhD student  in our department is working on  research  in regard to the project method  as a resource for teaching technology in secondary schools. However, that at present, to our knowledge,  no line of research  exists on this topic.


This is  logical  for several reasons:

-          The didactics of technology as a professional area does not currently exist in the university. It exists only at the level of secondary school teachers. However,  research per se is a responsability of  universities.

-          The new technologies  are dealt with as a  subject in  pedagogy  departments, and these focus their technological research  on informatics or audiovisuals in education.

-          The didactics of science departments in the university do not view technology education  as an important line of research, their point of view being, more or less, that technology is applied science.

-          The administration and the general educational model promote only  ICTs.




3.1.  TECHNOLOGICAL EDUCATION, PhD dissertation of Montserrat Muñoz Delgado (1992)


3.1.1.        Presentation

The aims of this research are:

·         To collect information on 1) the attitude towards technology and 2) the concept of technology  held by   12 – 16 year-old Catalan students.

·         To determine whether there are any differences between boys and girls in regard to these two above-mentioned topics.


The author uses a questionnaire prepared  at the University of Technology of Eindhoven.

Students’  attitudes towards technology is explored by means of 60 questions  regarding 6 fundamental concepts:

-      Interest

-      Differences  based on sex/gender

-      Consequences of technology

-      Difficulty of technology

-      Technology in the curriculum

-      Technology and future jobs


The concept of technology is investigated through three conceptual points that are considered to be basic characteristics of the concept of technology:

-      Technology is a human activity

-      Technology is strongly related to Physical-Natural Sciences

-      Technology is related to design and technical abilities

-      Technology is founded on three basic concepts: Matter, Energy, and Information


3.1.2.        Summary of results

The author found  the following research results:


A) Attitude of the students towards technology

The results of the questionnaire demonstrate that, as a whole, there is no  significant difference  in attitude between girls and boys, either favorable or   unfavorable, towards technology. But there are important differences in some specific attitudinal characteristics.



Boys are more interested than girls in  fields that  are related to technology (they are more likely to read reviews of technology, to know  what is new in technology, to visit factories or repair  things, etc.).


Differences for reason of  gender

Both boys and girls think that girls are competent  to  study technological subjects or  to have a technological  job, but girls think this in a greater proportion. The boys consider themselves  better at technological  tasks


Consequences of technology

Boys and girls, but more boys that girls, think that in the future technology will have important positive or negative consequences.


Difficulty of technology

There are no significant differences between boys and girls in this aspect. The students, in a little bigger proportion of with girls occupying a slightly larger proportion than boys, consider that all people are able to practice or study technology. The girls think that if they study technology in a smaller proportion  to boys, it is not  because of a lack of  ability. For the author, this means that we have to search for reasons in traditional and socio-cultural variables.


Technology and curriculum

In this variable there are significant differences between boys and girls. Both consider that technology is important in the school’s curriculum, but the boys think technology must be compulsory for all  students, and girls  think exactly the opposite.


Technology and future job

The boys think that a technological job  is not boring and girls often think the opposite.

Both (more boys than girls) think technology is important and interesting for their future professions or jobs.


B) The concept of technology

In general, the results of the questionnaire demonstrate that between boys and girls there are significant differences in the concept of technology. But they have a confusing concept of technology because they often do not recognize some of the basic characteristics of the concept of technology.


The technology like human activity

There are no important differences between boys and girls  in terms of understanding technology  as a consequence of human inventiveness and activity. Both girls and boys have a tendency to consider technology something linked to machines. They consider also that technology is not an ancient human capability.


The relation between technology and sciences

Boys more than girls see some relation between technology and natural sciences, but both (more girls than boys) consider that there  is no relationship between technology and chemistry or biology.

The differences between boys and girls are very important in this point.


The relationship of technology  to design and technical abilities.

The results in this point demonstrate that there isn’t any difference between boys and girls. This relationship seems confusing for both, boys and girls.


The relationship of technology with matter, energy and information.

In this characteristic there are no  significant differences between boys and girls. They see the implications between technology and energy, and less between matter and technology. Moreover,  it seems that they do not consider that technology is related to information, probably because information is a concept not well understood  by them.


3.1.3.        Summary of conclusions

In summary, the author considers that in Catalonia the differences between boys and girls are similar to those  of other countries and that these differences are a direct consequence of the social models.

The author explains the great level of confusion in the concept of technology because this subject did not exist in the curriculum when this research was  being carried out.

In order to reach the attitudinal equality in sexes, the author agrees with Marc de Vries (1987) and Falco de Klerk Wolters (1989), who hold that  classes of technological education should be  available for girls and should start in earlier courses.

Technological education obviously has to  involve a correct concept of technology. This means that the relation technology/society and technology/human being should  receive special consideration in the technological curriculum.

The author points up also the influence of teachers’ attitudes on the students’ attitudes.


3.1.4.        Proposals

The author assumes the concept of technology established by De Vries and based on these essential characteristics:

a)   Technology is a human activity (boys and girls)

b)   Technology is founded on three basic concepts: Matter, Energy and Information

c)    There is a mutual relationship between science and technology

d)    Design and technical abilities are essentials in technology

e)   There is a reciprocal influence between technology and society


According to this concept and the guidelines of the Departament d’Ensenyament de la Generalitat de Catalunya, the author suggests that proposals in technological education have to take account of:

§         Girls’ special motivation.

§          Developing procedural, conceptual, attitudinal contents and values that focus on technology  as a human activity, which  remains in a constant relation in regard to  the sciences and  which has three basic conceptual supports: matter, energy and information.

§         The concrete nature of technological activity, especially of their most common processes like technical drawing, analysis, design, projecting, and construction of technological objects.



4.      Some initiatives  to  improve  technological education

In this section we want to consider some initiatives of the Generalitat and other institutions that can produce changes in the situation of  technological or ICT education.

In the last 15 years ICTs have  received special promotion from the Catalan administration.


4.1.  Initiatives by the Generalitat for improving   ICT education

In the last 15 years the ICTs have received  special promotion from the Catalan administration. We want here  to point up two programs, the PIE program, which has  been the motor for implementing  informatics technology in schools, and the Pla Estratègic, Catalunya en Xarxa [Strategic plan: Catalonia in network], which  drew the lines of today’s programs and for future interventions  to promote ICTs.


4.1.1.     Educative informatics program.

In 1986 the Departament d'Ensenyament de la Generalitat de Catalunya (Ministry of Education of the Autonomous Government), created the "Programa d'Informàtica Educativa" (PIE) with the  aim of promoting the use of New Information Technologies in Primary and Secondary Education in Catalonia.

The achievement of this global objective may be  carried out through the coordinated  introduction of the following activities: Distribution of equipment, Teacher Training, Educational Activities and Experiences, Support technologies.

PIE has supported the realization of activities and experiences in different areas, for example:


EXAO (Computer Assisted Experimentation)

Music (Use of informatics and musical systems)


Use of overlay keyboard in education

Local area networks

Work in different areas of vocational education:


Drafting and Technical Design

Industrial Mechanics

Hotel management

Graphic Arts



To  bring a higher degree of quality to the support of its work, PIE has complemented its work with the development of two support technologies: The Educational Telecommunications Network of Catalonia (XTEC) and the development of the SINERA Data Base.

XTEC was created in 1988, and since 1995  has been connected to the Internet, offering the schools the opportunity of using the World Wide Web, Electronic Mail for the realization of educational team projects. XTEC gives service to all the educational centers, which have been equipped, by PIE, to allow  the realization of collaborative work and teamwork, both at a Catalan, Spanish and International level.

The PIE has also developed  the documental database of educational resources SINERA, which contains more than 45.000 references and has been edited in a multimedia CD-ROM format and distributed to the schools in three editions (1993, 1995, and 1996). In 1997, the Sinera Database was implemented in the PIE Web for online access in the framework of the TeleRegions Project:


4.1.2.        Catalonia in network program

Emphasizing the administration’s interest in ICTs, the Autonomous Government approved, in August 1998, the master lines for promoting the total integration of Catalonia into the information society. In the master line “Educational System” we can read:

“Access to the Internet must be provided to all educational centers and services so that students and teachers may be able to profit from the services and opportunities in learning and teaching that this medium puts within their reach. Our didactic methods must combine the Catalan pedagogical legacy with the interaction and personalization capabilities that information technology, telecommunications and audiovisuals offer. As a result, students will learn new techniques to access  the information and its treatment. Particularly, the Government will pay special attention to encouraging  further education for the teaching staff with regard to these technologies. It will also urge students to learn to design and create contents in digital form, because this is thought to be a useful item for training and a fundamental factor for the presence of the WWW in Catalonia.

The Government will favour the intensive use of the new information technology in order to encourage and renew professional training, because it is considered a fundamental issue in the creation and maintenance of high-quality levels of occupation. The educational system will bear in mind the appointment of professionals specialized in these technologies.”


Then, in 1999, the Generalitat  created the global project Pla Estratègic, Catalunya en Xarxa, (1999-2003) with the same aim. This project has 7  fields of action, and one of them is Education and Training. The education and  training  area has these 6 aims:


1.       Implantation and adaptation of the curriculums to the necessities of the IS, (among others, this includes the objective of guaranteeing the incorporation of the ICTs into the school centers). 

2.       Initial and  in-service teacher training in ICTs, (to promote and facilitate  teachers’ use of the ICTs in their daily activities). 

3.       A program for adult education and continuous training in ICTs. 

4.       Creation and exchange of educational materials (to facilitate the birth of an educational industry in multimedia and audiovisual that motivates and  supports  educational practices) 

5.       Promotion of the organizational and structural changes in educational centers and development of the virtual community of these centers. (This seeks the incorporation of the ICTs into the educational project of the centers) 

6.       Endowment plan of Infrastructures  in order to attain, in the next four years,  a ratio of 10 students per computer.


You can find more information in


4.2.  Other Initiatives for improvement of  ICT education


4.2.1.        The Grim Project

This is a research and development project that started in 1994 with the aim of introducing  information and communication technology in an educational framework. The original idea was to introduce computers with strong multimedia devices in nurseries and to assess  the results from several points of view.  More information is available at , but we would  like to point out that most  GRIMM teachers make a positive evaluation of the influence of the project on the students. These are some opinions of the teachers:

·    Students  achieve  a more autonomous learning process

·  Activities let the students increase control and responsibility levels in decision-making processes

·  Students acquire abilities regarding the psycomotricity, the spatial conception with more than one dimension

·  Students also acquire a good level of understanding in iconographic and visual language

·  The  computer is always quite, patient, it's never angry with the user and never shouts. Children can make mistakes without being afraid, and check and correct the action. Trial  and error methodology increases the opinion of oneself

·  Normally, graphic creative tasks that children can do themselves have good results. Consequently, this increases self-confidence in children, as well as changing  the opinion they have about themselves.

·  Generally, children works in pairs with the computer, so, they collaborate and help each other, and they discover that a given task is more easily done if they are a group of two or three. Values like living together, cooperation, helping each other and taking common decisions are necessary attitudes for working with the computer.

·  Children learn easily and they are always interested in their context. They are very sensitive to the stimuli, and they are always ready to research, listen, look  and so on. As a result, the more stimuli they receive, the more they may learn.

·   The computer becomes normal for them in a  short time and they are never scared of it.

·  With the computer, children  carry out different learning processes, non-linear activities that let  them jump from one idea to another, change activity, try again, think differently, create, communicate and so on. These activities are really important in the globalization of learning processes.


5.      Some didactical considerations about science and technology education

The preceding paragraphs indicate that curriculums for Nursery and Primary Education contain no explicit reference to Technological Education. In addition, failure to consider ICT’s would prolong the deficiencies in technological education, since the present administration has no alternative plans for improvement.

Nevertheless, from the preceding paragraphs we can take out  two positive aspects.

1)       Technological education is to a certain extent included in Science Education 

2)       Compulsory Secondary Education (12-16 years) contemplates technological education, which is being dealt with in a satisfactory manner.  This should be borne in mind in the design of programmes for early education. 

Our main purpose here is to emphasize the similarities between scientific and technological education in early schooling rather than to discuss whether an Area of Technological education is necessary at early educational levels, or whether there should be a unique area of scientific-technological education at these levels. (We could probably find arguments for either option and indeed for different options). 


5.1.  Didactical methodologies in Technological education area

Here we present the didactical methodologies that are used in the teaching of Technology in secondary education, which we feel could be considered the basis of criteria for the planning of Technological education activities at kindergarden and primary educational levels. We base our presentation on a document presented by A. Soler (1993) at the Seminary of Doctoral Studies in the Programme of Didàctica de les Ciències Experimentals i de la Matemàtica of the University of Barcelona.

In the teaching of Technology in Secondary education some didactical methodologies are derived from the work methods of technological activity itself. These methodologies are presented and commented in Baigorri et al. (1997), Aguado, F. and Lama, J.R. (1998) and they are also considered in some of the general aims and conceptual contents of the technological area at secondary education (Full de Disposicions i Actes Administratius de la Generalitat, DOGC núm. 428 de 13 de maig de 1992)

Three methods are used by the technologist in working situations.

·       The Method of Technological Projects (or of Technological Procedure).

·       Case Studies.

·       The Analysis of Objects



5.1.1.        The Method of Technological Projects


This is probably the most important method, but this does not imply that it is the most appropriate method for teaching any content of Technology.

The Method of Projects is based on the perception that there is a situation that can be technologically improved or that a technological problem needs to be solved. The difference between Technology and other subjects is that in those subjects the problems to be solved are completely delimited, while the first step in solving a technological problem or in the building of an object is to delimit and to define this problem or object.

 There are several ways to present the Method of Projects: some of them are more developed than others, but for our purposes we will introduce one of the most simple. The steps of the method are the following:

1)       Analysis of the situation and problem definition. In this step the problem is defined in such a way as to identify what is to be solved without the definition being so narrow as to prejudice the possibility of creativity and innovation.

2)       Research. This is the step of data collection. In this step, the other methods – the Case Studies, the Analysis of Objects –are often applied.

3)       Discussion of possible solutions. After the research, possible solutions are suggested and they are criticized one by one, considering all the factors that could influence their implementation.

4)       Planning. Once the solution has been chosen as the best, every difficulty of production is detailed and solved. The procedure of production is planned, the materials anticipated, …

5)       Execution. It consists of the implementation of the procedure of production by the production of a prototype.

6)       Evaluation. Once the prototype is finished, the definition of the problem is reviewed again and the results are evaluated. The budget is also planned a this stage.

To these 6 classical steps we can add another:

7)       Invention of new situations. We add this step to emphasize that every process is in fact a source of new technological situations that can be improved, and with which we could begin the method again.


Some pedagogical considerations


The Method of Projects means that:

§         The emphasis is put, in the first place, on the pupil considered as responsible of his own learning. This implies that the pupil has to bring into play a large number of skills related with the project proposed:

o        He/she makes effort to create or manufacture an object

o        He/she has to learn to use an object or to put a notion into practice

o        He/she has to perform tasks of problem solving or tasks of solving specific intellectual difficulties

o        He/she makes an effort to improve his mastery of some specific techniques

§         The teacher is seen here as the guiding of the personal possibilities of students, and at the same time he/she is the encourager and the adviser in the project performance.

§         The practice of this methodology of projects allows the student to shape an image of what he is going to do, which instills in him a need to learn. Then, the project to perform will be a key element of motivation to the student that will open a way for active participation.

§         The research that a project needs, the actions that it entails and the discovery to which it is oriented make the students acquire the habit of searching for answers and lead them to apply all their intellectual skills to the activity.


5.1.2.        Case Studies

 This method is well known in other contexts: for example, it is used in Qualitative Research. Basically it is used to analyse specific episodes of technological innovation and the dynamics of change, by considering all the variables involved.

It is also used in the second stage of the Method of Technological Projects in order to analyse situations similar to those we aim to solve and thus obtain criteria for the choice of the best solution.

According to Bachs, X. (in Baigorri 1997), case studies are developed according to the following phases:

1)       Detection of the social agents interested in an specific aspect of technological innovation

2)       Determination of interests and expectations that each social agent hopes to obtain from the technological innovation considered.

3)       Study of these interests and expectations, by analyzing points in common, different meanings,…

4)       Unification of meanings, in order to establish aims and the design of the technological innovation inquired.


Bachs, X. (in Baigorri 1997) also comments the following methodological characteristics of Case studies:

§       They begin without any pre-established border between the technical and the social contexts. Any border of this kind would be a consequence of actions and strategies of the actors.

§       They try to get rid of all prejudices about the character of activity on the part of technical actors and they consider important all those elements that the actors consider important.

§       The global analysis is interdisciplinary: a network analysis of historical, sociological, technical, economic and scientific aspects, where none is dominant over the others.


5.1.3.        Analysis of Objects

The analysis of objects consists of a systematic search of all those aspects and elements that determine an object or technical system. This analysis even includes aspects like the context of the object considered and the necessities that it covers.

In contrast to the Method of Projects, here we start from the final solution (the object or technical system) and we search for all the factors that influenced the determination of this concrete solution to the problematic initial situation. So, it is a process that goes from the concrete to the abstract and from the specific to the general.


Analyzing several aspects of objects or technical systems, such as the form, ergonomics, the functionality, the materials, …, the analysis of objects can be useful as a complete methodology or as a method associated to the Method of Projects.


Didactically, it has the advantage that when we analyse the object from all the possible points of view, we are changing the activity into an interdisciplinary axis.  It also helps the students to notice a lot of variables that intervene in the design and construction of an object, thus avoiding simplistic views of the environment.


On the one hand the Method of Projects as educational methodology has its basis in the active pedagogy (Dewey 1900), on the other hand in the Activity Theory.

Activity theory has its roots in: 1) the classical German philosophy of Kant and Hegel, which emphasized both the historical development of ideas as well as the active and constructive role of humans; 2) the philosophy of Marx and Engels and specially their dialectic materialist view of activity; 3) the Soviet cultural-historical psychology of Vygotsky, Leontiev, and Luria and Galperin (Kutti, 1996) (Talizina 1988)

Activity theory provides an alternative perspective to mentalistic and idealistic views of human knowledge that claim that learning must precede activity. Activity theory posits that conscious learning emerges from activity (performance), not as a precursor to it. So activity theory provides us with alternative way of viewing human thinking and activity.

From the didactical point of view, we would highlight the following characteristics of learning based on the Activity Theory:


-          The leading role of the pupil in the process of knowledge acquisition.

-          The importance of the motive of the activity.

-          The importance of the personal and social experience.

-          The progression in the acquisition of knowledge: from material actions to mental operations, from the objects and facts to concepts and theories.

-          The importance of the language and of the social interaction.

-          The importance of doing adequate proposals to the ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development).


5.1.4.        Some educational experiences based in the Method of Projects

The active pedagogy has promoted several educational experiences to nursery and primary education level in Catalonia that are focused in the method of project:


Heras, G., Pujol, M. & Roca, N. (1986 ). Los proyectos como investigación.

            The authors base their work by projects in the re-arrangement of space, organized in four phases,

spontaneity, first organization of the spontaneous actions, arrangement of spontaneity and construction of code. In the paper they explain the methodological orientation and the processes they follow in several buildings: the village, the train, ...

            "This exposition proposes, then, that the children acquired certain principles and schemes that permit them to re-elaborate the data of own experience, in order to front the always new situations "


Majoral, S. (2001 ). Dissenyem el nostre pati.

            An example of authentic work by project, an exercise of participation of children, teachers and families is the process of design of an important space: the playground of the school. A project that became real from the proposals, the dialogue and the reflection of little boys and girls of four years old in the CEIPM Parc del Guinardó of Barcelona.

            "... because we would have to work with maps, we begin a work of recognition and representation of objects from several points of view. "


Pujol, M. & Roca, N. (1991). Treballar per projectes a parvulari.

The authors explain the large processes of research and the acquisition of knowledge about several materials that brings finally to an original transformation of the space of classroom. The building a ceiling over which were possible to walk, the achievement of narrow and dark spaces, some roughed grounds, a wall-organ full of tubes, some transparent structures.,….

" We have to calculate how many tubes are necessary to cover all the wall……they are useful calculations because, beside all the intellectual processes of reasoning and inventiveness that meant in the children, we obtained the wall"

"The work by projects is a way of school working based principally on communication, understood as the tool through which the thinking of students is developed.  "



5.2.  Didactical considerations for a early science education

From a historic perspective, we believe that today the level of early scientific education in our country is not good. The PISA 2000 report demonstrates this when it places the scientific literacy level of Spain between the 16 and 22 ranking of a group of 32 countries.

If we take the year 1990 (year of publication of the LOGSE) as a reference we can see that technological education has improved and that has a positive trend of progression in the secondary level of education. However, we cannot say the same about the sciences in early education. Our feeling is that at the beginning of the nineties the situation was more positive; or at least there was more enthusiasm.

In 1990 the Science Museum of Barcelona organized the first Didactic of Science Seminary with the specific name El “clik” científic de 3 a 7 anys (The scientific ”clik” from 3 to 7 years old).  This seminary showed that there were many professionals, from nursery to university, interested in early scientific education.

Since then, the didactical reflections of this seminary have inspired many educational experiments with children in nurseries and primary schools. We believe that these didactical considerations may also be a good reference for elaborating the didactical concept of early technical education.

The papers of this seminary were published by the Fundació Caixa de Pensions (1990) and, considering the aim of our project, we would emphasize the following reflections from them:


§         In addition to the expressive education, the nursery has to propitiate cognitive education because between the ages of 3 – 6 children experience the explosion of language and the starting of the main cognitive strategies. So it is necessary to propose activities of scientific and technical education.

§         The most important didactical procedure for an early scientific and technical education is to practice “research”, understood as a way to act that allow the construction of a closer relation between what the learner is doing and what the learner is thinking. The process of the construction of knowledge can be understood as a continuous adjustment between experience, thinking and language.

§         Interpersonal relations are essential for scientific literacy.

§          It is necessary to take account of the knowledge and competence that 3-year-old children have acquired, because these are the bases on which scientific literacy will be built.

§         The teacher should act as a mediator (of stimuli, direction, support) in the acquisition of scientific knowledge.

§         The proposed activities should be related with the children’s life outside the classroom.


In our opinion there are many points of coincidence between this way of understanding scientific education and the didactical methodologies of technological education that we introduced above.


To recognize this points of coincidence we propose only to read this experience of scientific education carried out in a nursery of Modena by N. Balestri and presented by M. Arcà and P. Mazzoli in El “clik” científic de 3 a 7 anys.



Scientific education at pre-school level.  



With five-year-old children we have often told the story of the three bears, whose main characters are the big bear, the medium bear and the small bear. Then we wanted to build seats for the bears, starting with that of the biggest bear .  


We were talking about choosing the most appropriate material: there  were those who wanted to make seats out of paper and Bristol board, others preferred clay, and others iron. Finally, we decided to try all the proposed materials, but starting with paper.  


So, we all sat down around a big table, with some big sheets of paper and coloured Bristol boards. Each child, choosing a classroom seat as a model, had  first to make a plan, showing how big their seat would be so that the big bear could sit on it. Therefore, the child would draw on the paper the different parts, clip them together, and build a seat that could be used. This process  obliged them to decompose the seat mentally into its essential parts and to design (in proportion) the parts that would later be glued together.  


We tried to collaborate individually with the children to overcome the various difficulties. We attempted, before anything else, to identify perceptibly the different parts of a seat (and their functions), and to give them a name: the legs, the seat, “that which” supports the arms and “that which” supports the back. In this detailed exploration, a well-known, commonly used object was presented with unexpected complexity; as if they were seeing a seat for the first time, the children tried to notice the form and the structure, establishing relationships of different types between the elements that compose it. It was a question of looking, of making comparisons between the parts, of realizing that the back has to be at least as wide as the seat and as high as the arms; of noticing that certain chairs have the soft seat and others have a  hard one.  

We cannot describe all the moments of the work in detail: we will only point up the most important points.  


By words of common language, the conventional aim, -to build a seat for the big bear-, governs and directs the “observation'' of the real object; “giving a name” to the parts of the seat guides the children toward their functional analysis and, mainly, makes cognitively  perceptible some data of the experience to which, until then, the children had never paid attention.  


 By looking and speaking, but with an objective in mind, a banal object ( like a seat)  stands out from the background of the objects in daily use and it can be seen to have a complex structure. The children realize that the different parts have to correspond to certain proportions, to volumetric and spatial relationships that they cannot name, but in the course of the work these will become perceptibly and more and more evident cognitively.  


In this, as in other situations, therefore, one can meditate on the complexity of the process of construction of knowledge, in which several competences interplay until the point that it is not possible to analyze one independently of the other. To know how to make something, to know how to see, to know how to speak are mutually enriching experiences..... (…)


(…) The children worked building the seats: they sometimes spoke, alone or among themselves, of what they were doing. The Bristol board, cut in the shape of a seat or back, was glued. Pieces of adhesive tape were placed at the most critical points, as if they had a  “magic” power of holding, which  nevertheless does not work well. The problem, then, was to get the seats stand up. Four Bristol board strips, which were not of same length, were not strong enough to support the weight of the seat; then some children bent the strips to make cylinders, which they quickly glued to the four angles under the seat. And as they saw that they were sometimes not strong enough to keep the seat standing up, the number of cylinders under the seat was increased to five or six, arranged differently in the centre or at the sides. We found it was very important to listen to the explanations that the children gave to the various solutions, but also to help them to understand the nature and the structure of the things among which they have to move and to act.  


 At the moment of testing the seats it was evident that, in spite of the good intentions and the more or less careful work involved, the Bristol board seats did not support the weight of the bear. They looked for the causes, either in the way they had cut and glued the pieces, or in the nature of the Bristol board, which is too thin, bends easily, does not resist and cannot be glued. The Bristol board behaves like Bristol board and it cannot do otherwise: the "limits " imposed by the material (in a more general way, by the structures of the underlying reality) are always deeply involved in the success or the failure of their attempts. To achieve the present aims, it is important to identify “how the world is made", learning gradually to know the rules that describe it. (…) 


(…) The children’s manipulation of objects allows them to learn both the intrinsic rules of the real world  and the various forms they can move around it ; sometimes, particular conditions or moments are also chosen to optimize the  form of the object. As the Bristol board did not support the weight of the bear, we had no choice but  to modify it by  using a double sheet, or by  using large quantities of glue; as the four legs did not support the weight of the bear, we put five. We also discovered that there is an optimal consistency for the glue.


Having reached this point, the children tried to build the seats out of clay, by kneading it, making balls and making the necessary pieces in long and thin shapes. Any child who could not make the required shape would ask another for help, who then explained how to do it, by flattening it, kneading it, rolling it between the palm of the hand and the table, pressing it a little, to get a well made leg.  


 At this point, the children tried to name their movements (to rotate, to press, to flatten, to roll, to beat), and the ways in which these movements should be carried out: gently, strongly, slowly. In the same way as when we looked for the names of  the parts of the seat, the experience and linguistic skills reinforced each other in the search of the knowledge: searching, among the possible gestures, the appropriate ones to give the desired form to that clay piece, and among all the possible names, those that “look most like” the representation of what is needed. If the partners understood, they improved the expressions and definitions in their own way, but not always in correspondence with what adults would do or say. But if the child who asked did not understand the explanation, then the others quickly made them see how it was done, showing them the appropriate and necessary gesture to give the desired form to the matter that only in that form responded to the project’s aims. (…)


(…) Obviously, the seats made with clay had very different characteristics from those made with Bristol board, and the resources invented by the children to try to make them work were also different.

Working with one’s hands also confers a certain sensitivity to matter, an experience of its potentialities that is gradually being interioritzed. No description in words, no graphic representation of the activity could substitute the manual sensitivity acquired with the characteristics of plasticity, humidity, weight or fragility of the clay. (…)  


(…) The words serve later to render explicit what experience and perception have made cognitively accessible, to render personal realities communicable and socializable. Words are also useful for providing evidence, at a level of deeper knowledge, of the relationships between objects, for example causal relationships between some particular gestures and the shapes that clay acquires. By means of memory and the confrontation between successes and failures, the experience gives form to a more and more abstract language that builds and renders evident things that cannot be seen, that is to say, the relationships between phenomena.  (…)



(…) But if we want to make a  seat that is “too big”, we realize that the clay "does not work well" that it bends or breaks. The knowledge acquired in one context is no longer applicable to another, different context, and the new attempts demonstrate its inefficiency. Then, it is necessary to go deeper into the new experience, to find new expressions, to construct (invent) new structures for seats, integrating what seemed to have been definitively understood with the new aspects that, little by little, are arising, with the new answers of the same material shaped in different ways. 

And it was then that we tried to build the seats with wire, bending it and twisting it until forming the structure of the seat. And only just at this time was it possible to realize  the vast difference between a clay seat and one made of wire, the two called, naturally, "seat". (…)



(…) We can, therefore,  now reflect on the relationship that links, in a general sense, experience, language and knowledge: three emblematic characterizations that can be read and interpreted, as if they were transparent, through any one ''activity '' carried out with the children. Each one of these three topics presupposes and implies the other two: for this reason reciprocal bonds tie them inextricably. It is not possible to structure didactically these elements in a hierarchical way, by beginning to teach ''starting '' in the Language, in the experience, or maybe in established knowledge. (…)



6.      References

AGUADO, F.; LAMA, J.R. (1998). Didáctica de la Tecnología. Madrid: Tebar.

ARCÀ, M. & MAZZOLI, P. (1990 ). “Fer, parlar, entendre. Educació científica a nivell preescolar”. Papers. El "Clik" científic de 3 a 7 anys, 1, pp 35-40.

BAIGORRI, J. (coord.) (1997). Enseñar y aprender tecnología en la educacioón secundaria. ICE(UB)/Horsori.

CONTRERAS MUÑOZ, E. (1981). Estudio del vocabulario pretecnológico en la E.G.B. Tesi doctoral. Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

DE KLERK WOLTERS, F. (1998). The attitude of pupils towards technology. ABC. De Lier. Nederlands.

DE VRIES, M. (1987). What is technology?. U.T.E. Eindhoven.

DEPARTAMENT D’ENSENYAMENT (1993): 24172 Llei orgànica 1/1990, de 3 d’octubre, d’Ordenació General del Sistema Educatiu. En “Reculls de normativa”. Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya.

DEPARTAMENT D’ENSENYAMENT (1993): Decret 75/1992. Ordenació general dels ensenyaments. Àrea de Tecnologia: currículum secundària obligatòria. En “Reculls de normativa”. Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya.

DEPARTAMENT D’ENSENYAMENT (1994): Currículum d’Educació Primària. Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya.

FUNDACIÓ CAIXA DE PENSIONS (1990). Papers.El "Clik" científic de 3 a 7 anys. Funació Caixa de Pensions. Barcelona.

GENERALITAT DE CATALINYA. Full de Disposicions i Actes Administratius, DOGC núm. 428 de 13 de maig de 1992.

GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ, R. (1989). Análisis psico-pedagógico de operadores tecnológicos utilizados por niños en sus trabajos de Educación Tecnológica. Tesi doctoral. Biblioteca de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

HERAS, G., PUJOL, M. & ROCA, N. (1986 ). “Los proyectos como investigación”. Cuadernos de Pedagogía, 137, pp 38-42.

KUUTTI, K. (1996) Activity Theory as a potential framework for human-computer interaction research. In NARDI, B.A. (Eds) “Context and consciousness. Activity theory and human-computer interaction”. Cambridge. MA. MIT Press

MAJORAL, S. (2001 ). “Dissenyem el nostre pati”. In-fàn-ci-a, 120, pp 14-18

MUÑOZ DELGADO, M. (1992). Educació Tecnològica. Tesi doctoral. Biblioteca de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

PUJOL, M. & ROCA, N. (1991). Treballar per projectes a parvulari. Vic: Eumo

SOLER A. (1993). “El mètode de Projectes Tecnològics com un entorn favorable dintre de la contextualització de la Teoria de l’Activitat de l’Aprenentatge”. Document intern del Seminari del Programa de Doctorat de Didàctica de les Ciències Experimentals i de la Matemàtica de la Universitat de Barcelona.

TALIZINA, N, (1988). Psicología de la enseñanza. Biblioteca de psicología soviética. Editorial Progreso. Moscú.




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